Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe
R: Herbert Brenon. B: Herbert Brenon, Frederick Melville (play), Walter Scott (novel). D: Leah Baird, King Baggot, Jack Bates, Wallace Bosco, Herbert Brenon, Evelyn Hope, William Calvert, A.J. Charlwood, George Courtenay, Helen Downing, R. Hollies. P: Independent Moving Pictures Co. of America (IMP) / Carl Laemmle. USA 1913
Print: EYE (Desmet Collection)
Dutch titles

>>> Summary  (Moving Picture World synopsis)

“This much heralded three-reel offering will not disappoint observers in one respect. It possesses the quality of atmosphere to a remarkable degree. It visualizes for the observer very effectively the knights of olden days, ancient castles and battlements, Robin Hood and his merry band, and through the entire production there is scarcely a thing to he wished from a scenic standpoint. This reflects great credit upon Herbert Brenon, the producer, and upon the very efficient band of English supers who assisted him. King Baggot appears as Ivanhoe, Evelyn Hope as Lady Rowena and Lean Baird as Rebecca. The acting is adequate throughout. The story gets underway slowly, as does the novel itself, but the last two reels bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. A strong feature offering.”
The Moving Picture World, September 20, 1913

“In 1913, the American film industry was still teetering between focusing of features and focusing on shorts. Should they keep grinding out one and two-reel sausages or set their sights on bigger and better things? Ivanhoe was an example of the industry’s attempts to compete with the big European productions. IMP adapted Sir Walter Scott’s famous novel and then sent director Herbert Brenon and the cast off to England to soak up some atmosphere. (The English produced their own version of the tale the same year, this film is also reportedly extant.) The picture opened 100 years ago to audience acclaim and box office success.”
Fritzi Kramer
Movies silently

“For three or four weeks in 1913, the town of Chepstow took on the state of a festival, as nothing like the filming of Ivanhoe had been done on British soil up until that time. All the local hotels were full of Norman knights and damsels with American accents, the local ‘supers’ or extras, apparently went about their work in costume. Locals assisted with the costumes and ‘The Church Boy’s House’, a large social hall, was converted into a props and makeup facility. Reporters from national newspapers and the film press covered the making of Ivanhoe in detail, wanting to see how a “great cinematograph picture is taken”. They gave high praise to the making of the battle scenes. The sack of ‘Torquilstone’ caused two days of great excitement involving an army of 300 locals (Universal would claim ‘A Cast of Thousands’ in the film’s marketing). Enthusiastic participation resulted in a number of injuries, mostly minor, as well as many broken ‘weapons’. King Baggot himself was injured during the making of the film when an extra smacked him on the chin with a sword.”
Tom Stockman
We are movie geeks

“As features were getting underway from about 1912 to 1914, they had some trouble stretching the short and traditionally stage bound tradition of film. I mean, they really did just stretch those forms for a longer run time, rather than reworking cinematic language for lengthier storytelling. Of course, many of the basics established by filmmakers like Alice Guy-Blaché, Georges Méliès, Edwin S. Porter, and James Williamson were still at the foundation of the budding features, just as they often are today. But playing with camera distance and creating a greater sense of depth in a modern sense was a rare thing, and that’s only more glaring in features of the time. Films like Cleopatra (1912) and From the Manger to the Cross (1912) are impressive in their historical context, but they certainly drag. Ivanhoe, at about 52 minutes, does as well, but director Herbert Brenon did just a bit more with sets and his camera so as to mark the movie as a more clear landmark in the transition into early feature filmmaking.”
Tristan Ettleman
Medium

>>> Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Herbert Brenon on this website

>>> HISTORY